David M. Frank

Research Assistant Professor

My research and teaching explore the intersections of ethics and philosophy of science. I have published papers on topics in environmental ethics, philosophy of economics, philosophy of conservation biology, and philosophy of psychiatry. I received a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Texas, Austin in 2012 and a B.A. in philosophy from Yale in 2007. From 2012-2015 I was Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow in Environmental Studies and the Center for Bioethics at New York University.
  • "Inductive Risk and Higher Order Uncertainty." Forthcoming in Exploring Inductive Risk.
  • "'Biodiversity' and Biological Diversities: Consequences of Pluralism Between Biology and Policy." Forthcoming in Routledge Handbook of the Philosophy of Biodiversity.
  • “On Joseph Spengler’s ‘Have Values a Place in Economics?’” Ethics 2015.
  • "Biodiversity, Conservation Biology, and Rational Choice." Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 2014.
  • "Conservation Goals and Species Preservation: Uncertainty and Multiple Values." (Open peer commentary.) Ethics, Policy and Environment 2013.
  • "Asymmetrical Contributions to the Tragedy of the Commons and Some Implications for Conservation." Sustainability 2013. With Jennifer Jacquet and Christopher Schlottman.
  • "Assessing Efficacy of 'Neuroenhancing' Drugs: Normative Problems in Empirical Controversies." (Invited paper.) In Designer Biology: The Ethics of Intensively Engineering Biological and Ecological Systems. 2013.
  • "Conservation Biology: Ethical Foundations." Nature Education Knowledge 2012. With Sahotra Sarkar.
  • "Neuroeconomic reductionism at work? A review of Paul W. Glimcher's Foundations of Neuroeconomic Analysis." Erasmus Journal for Philosophy and Economics 2011.
  • "Group Decisions in Biodiversity Conservation: Implications from Game Theory." PLoS ONE 2010. With Sahotra Sarkar.
  • "Chagas Disease Risk in Texas." PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2010. With Sahotra Sarkar, Stavana Strutz, Chissa Rivaldi, Blake Sissel, and Victor Sanchez-Cordero.
Recent and upcoming talks:
  • "Inductive Risk and Higher Order Uncertainty."
    • August 2015, UNC Chapel Hill.
  • "Biodiversity Value from Theory to Practice."
    • July 2015, International Society for Environmental Ethics, Christian Albrechts University, Kiel, Germany.
  • "Pragmatic Encroachment and Objectivity in Forensic Psychiatry."
    • May 2015, Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry.
  • "From 'War Amongst Ecologists' to Uneasy Consensus: Science-Policy Interactions in the Biodiversity-Ecosystem Function Debate."
    • August 2015, Ecological Society of America.
    • January 2014, University of Tennessee, Philosophy of Conservation Biology graduate seminar.
    • October 2013, NYU History of Science Working Group.
  • "Colony Collapse Disorder and Pesticide Regulation."
    • December, 2013, American Philosophical Association-Eastern Division. International Society for Environmental Ethics.
  • "Comments on Sahotra Sarkar's Environmental Philosophy: From Theory to Practice."
    • March, 2013, American Philosophical Association-Pacific Division.
  • "Definitional Risk and Biodiversity"
  • "Ethical Controversies in Biodiversity Conservation: Case Studies in Ecological Ethics and Social Justice."
    • March, 2012, NYU Environmental Studies and Bioethics.
    • February, 2012, Cal Poly Pomona, Dept. of Philosophy.
  • "Modeling Chagas disease risk in Texas: Idealization and multiple models for use."
  • "The ethics of systematic conservation planning: trade-offs and cooperation." University of Texas, Austin 2nd annual Sustainability Symposium, September, 2011. Watch on Youtube.
  • New York University:
    • Spring 2014:
      • Topics in Environmental Values and Society: Environmental Risk: Controversies at the Edge of Science and Policy (UG): In this course we will explore interactions between science, values, and policy in the assessment and management of environmental risks, drawing on decision theory, the psychology of decision-making, and the history and philosophy of science. We will address the following questions: How do humans perceive, measure, and model environmental risks? What are the scope and limits of decision theory in assessing and communicating environmental risks? What is the "precautionary principle" and when is its use justified? How do values and policy considerations influence the production and communication of scientific knowledge, and how should they influence environmental scientists assessing and communicating risks? Case studies may include risks due to climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution and toxic chemicals, and nuclear waste.
      • Advanced Introduction to Environmental Ethics (Bioethics MA students)
    • Fall 2012, 2013, 2014:
      • Ethics and the Environment (UG): This course introduces philosophical ethics through an engagement with environmental issues of population growth and resource use, pollution and environmental justice, sustainability, non-human animal welfare, biodiversity loss, and global climate change. No prior experience with philosophy is required. The two main goals of the course are to provide students with a more sophisticated conceptual vocabulary to make and evaluate ethical arguments across domains and to engage students’ ethical reasoning and reflection on environmental issues in particular.
    • Summer 2014:
      • Philosophy of Psychopathology (Bioethics MA students): This course explores the idea that psychiatric categories of mental disorder are influenced by values and ethical considerations. We critically examine alternative disciplinary and theoretical approaches to psychopathology, drawing from philosophy of science, neurobiology, history and the social sciences, disability studies, critical race and gender scholarship, and the anti-psychiatry literature. We use these theoretical frameworks to inform discussion of contemporary debates about addiction, depression, autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit disorder, and anti-social personality disorder.
    • Spring 2013:
      • Topics in Environmental Values and Society: Philosophy of Environmental Sciences (UG): This course introduces some general issues in philosophy of science by showing how they arise in particular environmental sciences. We examine (i) the interpretation of models and uncertainty in climate science; (ii) ontology in the life sciences; (iii) the concept of biodiversity and prioritization in conservation biology; and (iv) values and ethical issues in environmental and ecological economics. Students should come away with a more sophisticated conceptual understanding of how these sciences work (their goals, methods, and limitations) and how philosophical issues arise within science more generally.
      • Advanced Introduction to Environmental Ethics (Bioethics MA students)